Newquay is blessed with a fantastic coastline and an abundance of stunning beaches; some great for walking on, some for surfing, others for making sandcastles! Here's a brief description of some of the most popular ones:
Porth Beach is a long, narrow beach, flanked by cliffs. It is by far one of the most accessible beaches in Newquay and usually quite busy. It has a full range of facilities where you can buy beachwear and all things associated with a beach holiday. When the tide is high, the parking on this beach can be a little tricky, but the beach itself can be used regardless of the tides.
One of the famous walking routes here is to see the Cathedral Cave. This can be found on the right hand side of the beach. This cave used to have a piano lowered into it, providing musical entertainment throughout the night! Farther on, if you like a bit of an adventure or are an amateur rock climber (it is only a little rock climb) it is possible to cross into Whipsiderry beach. Words of caution though for this trek, make sure you know what the tides are doing!
Away from the busy Porth Beach is the quieter and more secluded Tolcarne Beach; nestling within a beautiful crescent and with a backdrop of cliffs. It isn't the easiest to access, with uneven steps down making it a bit of a challenge, but it is definitely worth the journey for the panoramic views and epic sunsets which are well worth noting here. The beach itself has soft sand, and is somewhat sheltered from the Atlantic onshore winds and is perfect for swimming. For the more active beach visitor, there is also the opportunity to surf, and thanks to the 'Tolcarne Wedge' Boogie Boarding can also be enjoyed. This beach has hidden gems revealed at low tide, in the form of rock pools, so it's a perfect place to explore these in search of seashore life too.
Tolcarne beach does have a full range of facilities including shops to buy all your sand castle building tools, surfing equipment and also refreshments. The beach also has several Holiday Flats on the beach itself, so if you visit and fall in love with the panoramic views, you can return next year and watch the sunset every evening in this secluded gem.
The Watergate Bay Beach
Situated just outside Newquay is a completely different experience and a different type of beach experience altogether, Watergate Bay beach is a privately owned beach. It is used by the Extreme Sports Academy as their main beach for all their adrenaline fuelled activities including; Kite surfing, Windsurfing, Buggy surfing and the traditional surfing. Looking onto this beach and also enjoying the spectacular view, is Jamie Oliver's 'Fifteen' Restaurant so there is always a flurry of activity during the day and night at this location. If you are not a fan of adrenaline and fast paced sports, this might not be the beach for you.
Last, but by no means least this beach is best known for exploration and adventure. It can be a bit difficult getting onto this beach with more than 100 steps descending (and ascending afterwards), this is not recommended for those with a lot of belongings or those who have sea legs on land! The best time to visit this beach is at low tide, which is when the magic of this beach appears, with hidden caves and interesting walks; well worth exploring, but do be mindful of the slippery rocks!
Some of the Sites You Really Shouldn't Miss
The Huer's Hut
Ideally located on the edge of the headland is one of the most historical places in Newquay; The Huer's Hut. Dating back to the 14th Century, it acted as a lookout post, raising the alarm to the fishermen when a shoal was spotted (hence the 'Hue and Cry'. The Crier also acted as navigator, directing the ships to their bounty. In the meantime, the rest of the town would set up workstations to clean and prepare the catch for market. The location of the hut, on the cusp of the headland, gave the crier a fantastic view to see pilchards. If you are brave enough you can look over the edge and relive what the crier of old saw!
Now part of the 'Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust' along with Paignton Zoo and the Living Coasts attractions, Newquay Zoo covers over 13 acres and is home to over 300 animals, such as Lions, Lemurs, Lynx, Pythons, Penguins, Deer, Meerkats and Red Pandas. Hosting a number of events and parties throughout the year, this Zoo has something for everyone on holiday in Newquay.
The Lappa Valley Steam Railway
With the billowing steam and its traditional carriages, this railway provides a trip down memory lane and for any Thomas the Tank Engine fans, a great day out too. Steeped in history, and dating back to the mid 1800's, this line was once used for silver lead mining transportation. It was eventually closed and left to be reclaimed by nature until the 1970s when it underwent complete refurbishment. A new line was laid (approximately 1/3rd of the original length), but since its revival, the Lappa Valley Steam Railway has expanded into a mini theme park with multiple lines, places to see, crazy golf, a boating lake and also children's rides, making it a day full of activities for all the family.
Blue Reef Aquarium
The Blue Reef Aquarium is home to over 40 different creatures, including sharks, seahorses and octopus. With its dedicated 'Tropical Shark Lagoon' this is one of the best places to see a range of different sharks, without having to worry about being on the menu! The aquarium houses an underwater tunnel so you can enjoy a 360 degree view, including coral reefs and a range of exotic fish. The aquarium also has a breeding programme for a wide range of species, affording the visitor the opportunity of viewing life cycles of marine creatures, whilst understanding the threat man poses to this wonderful natural habitat.
'The Discovery Trail'
Pick up a free map from various places around the town, and then take to the trail! In and around Newquay there are several discs which unlock and explore Newquay's unique and fascinating history. The trail takes in many different landmarks and locations so make sure you take your camera. There are 14 discs in total, each have conundrums placed in the discs so as well as taking photos of the scenery and discs, make sure you have your 'thinking caps' on too!
Visiting Newquay between July and September, a must-do attraction is the 'Maize Maze'. Found in the small village of Mitchell, this Maze is a living field of maize. Like every labyrinth, you need to follow the twists and turns and find your way out. On finding the exit you will also notice the strategically placed 'Plume of Feathers' pub, where you can relax and regain your energy with a cool drink.
Where to Eat and Where to Stay
Newquay has a plethora of restaurant styles to suit every taste, from Italian to British, Greek; Chinese and Mexican. So many, it is unlikely they could all be experienced within one month, let alone in one week! This is why I have selected just two with which to tempt you and which, in my humble opinion, are both as unique in their location as their food offering is inspiring and enjoyable.
Situated right on the Newquay Harbour Beach itself is the New Harbour Restaurant. When the high tide comes in, the sea rides right up to the restaurant wall, but visitors are not affected by this as it has convenient steps down to access the restaurant. Providing a range of top quality, freshly caught fish dishes, this is a great place to sit and relax after a long day of sightseeing and walking. With such a vast menu, there is sure to be something that will awaken the taste buds! The restaurant's menu changes almost daily, as everything depends on what the fishermen catch!
Jamie Olivier's Fifteen Restaurant.
With such acclaim, it is vital to book early to eat in this restaurant, especially during peak season. Situated overlooking Watergate Bay beach, this beautifully designed restaurant has spectacular Italian dishes from which to choose, and they are deliberately created with eye catching detail, since the chefs know they are competing for your attention with the views from the restaurant, that are so awe inspiring, especially around sunset!
With Trip Advisor stating there are 59 Hotels; not including Bed & Breakfast, Self-Catering accommodation, etc., when booking a holiday in Newquay you are unlikely to encounter a lack of properties from which to choose.
Listed below is a range of hotels suitable for all ages and groups; each having its own story to tell:
The Headland Hotel is possibly the best known hotel in Newquay. The film location for the Witches makes it a memorable hotel venue. Built around 1900, the hotel is situated right on the edge looking out at the Atlantic Ocean and Fistral Beach (famous for UK surfing competitions). Situated just outside the main town and set in private grounds alongside the beach, the Headland offers a bit of calm and serenity, as well as a head start to get onto the beach quickly.
The Atlantic Hotel is another property made famous by fortune and circumstances; The Beatles, stayed here during their 'Magical Mystery Tour' and it's also where they created their cover for 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'. Towering over Newquay's town centre, this hotel has lovely outdoor spaces for exploring, and enjoys wonderful views of the Atlantic.
The Hotel Bristol is part of the Best Western Group and overlooks Tolcarne Beach. Situated at the top of cliffs standing one hundred feet high, and enjoying fabulous views. It has a range of local amenities close by and has the added benefit of a fairly level walk into town. With Tolcarne Beach just beneath this lovely hotel, you are never far from dipping your toes into the sea or finding the best sunbathing spot! The Hotel Bristol has its own swimming pool; perfect for when the sea is more suited to surfing than bathing, and this hotel even provides your swimming towels, so you don't need to bring them!
So if you are contemplating a visit to Newquay, Cornwall anytime soon, make sure you plan your stay, since there is so much on offer and you may well run out of holiday, before its time to head home again. Mind you, this would afford you the perfect excuse for a return visit - if you need one that is!